Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has revealed Kirk Douglas once saved her life, as she paid tribute to the actor following his death on Wednesday at the age of 103.
Jamie’s parents starred alongside Kirk in the 1958 movie The Vikings and the actress reflected on the decades-long bond their families share, as well as the moment the Spartacus star saved her from drowning in a pool when she was a child.
Taking to Instagram on Friday, Jamie, 61, posted a photo of her parents Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh on the movie set with Kirk, as well as a couple of photos from her childhood.
Jamie’s message began: ‘Kirk and Anne were important to BOTH my parents. Here in The Vikings with both Tony and Janet.
‘I just remembered this morning that Kirk saved my life when I rode my tricycle into the pool at a party and he dove in and brought me up from the bottom, still peddling.’
The Halloween star explained that their families both suffered tragedies which has helped them to form a long-lasting bond throughout the years.
She continued: ‘I was in school with their son, Eric who they lost in 2004. Tony lost his son, Nicholas in 1994. Families tied together in life and success and loss and struggle, past and present. Kirk is an example for us ALL. COURAGE. INTEGRITY. GENEROSITY.’
Jamie also shared a family photo of her holding hands with her older sister Kelly while out with their movie star parents Tony and Janet, who were married from 1951 to 1962.
Tony, who passed away in 2010, also shared the screen with Kirk in 1960’s Spartacus.
The third snap Jamie shared was of her as a child sitting next to Kirk’s son Eric, who died of an accidental overdose in 2004.
Meanwhile, Catherine Zeta-Jones paid touching tribute to her father-in-law.
The 50-year-old actress – who has been married to the Spartacus star’s son Michael Douglas since 2000 – admitted she will love Kirk for the ‘rest of [her]life’ and already misses the actor.
She wrote on Instagram: ‘To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight… (sic)’
Catherine has always made her love for her father-in-law apparent, sharing pictures with the centenarian on a host of occasions.
Back in August, Kirk sat proudly at the head of the table as he dined with four generations of his family in a touching image.
Four generations piled around one table in the garden in the garden of Michael and Catherine’s home, including their children, Dylan, 19, and Carys, 16.
The oldest member of the family, Kirk enjoyed the catch-up alongside his wife Anne, 100, and the youngest member of the family, Lua Izzy, 20 months.
There was an outpouring of messages and tributes to Kirk following the news of his death this week.
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill wrote on Twitter: ‘Kirk Douglas was one of the biggest stars of all time & a brilliant actor with an unforgettable, blazing charisma…
‘He will also be remembered for putting his career on the line by defying the Hollywood Blacklist, hiring writer Dalton Trumbo for the classic Spartacus. #RIP (sic)’
Kirk’s For Love or Money co-star Mitzi Gaynor posted: ‘Bravo Kirk Douglas on an incredible life. Thank you for so generously sharing your talent with all of us.
‘The film we made together will always hold a special place in my heart. My love to Anne & your beautiful family.’
Danny DeVito tweeted: ‘Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag. 103 years on this earth. That’s got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you man.’
Star Trek actor William Shatner wrote: ‘Condolences to the family of Kirk Douglas. What an incredible icon he was in this industry!’
Seinfeld star Jason Alexander was left ‘heartbroken’ by the news of his pal Kirk’s death, and he described him as an ‘absolute legend’.
He tweeted: ‘Heartbroken. Kirk Douglas was a friend and an absolute legend of a star and human. He got better with every passing day. So honored to have known him. My love to his family. We could use a true Spartacus. (sic)’
Filmmaker Rob Reiner also took to Twitter to praise Kirk, calling him ‘an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood’.
He wrote: ‘KIrk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood. He put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family. (sic)’
George Takei posted: ‘Legendary actor Kirk Douglas has passed on today at the age of 103. An Academy Award winning actor and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Douglas was a champion for many just causes and lived a long and storied life. He was adored and beloved, and he shall be missed.’
The tributes came after Michael had confirmed his father’s passing.
He said in a statement: ‘It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103.
‘To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.
‘But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.
‘Kirk’s life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet.
‘Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. Dad- I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son.’
As well as Spartacus, Kirk was known for the likes of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lonely Are the Brave and The Bad and the Beautiful.